Reflections on 2014

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I know that this post is a little late since it’s already January 2, 2015, but I thought I should write it anyway as the new year is still young and the past year is fresh in my mind.

Two-thousand fourteen was a big year for me, as I started my junior year of highschool, got my first job, my drivers licence, and my first car.  There was some tragedy, some good, and a lot of grace.  My overall experience this past year can be summarized pretty well by two songs.

First, “Keep Making Me,” by Sidewalk Prophets, summarizes my growth in my relationship with God this year.  There are several convicting lines in this song which can definitely relate to me this year.

“I want to run to you with heart wide open

Make me broken”

Though I did not have any huge breakdown in my life this year, I have had mini struggles with feeling like my life does not matter.  I also mourned the loss of a friend this spring, and saw those close to him brought closer to God.  This was the first of many events this past spring and summer which changed my outlook on life.  The second huge struggle I had this summer was when one of my best friends was diagnosed with cancer.  This friend loves the Lord so much and has always been healthy and active like any other teenager.  I could not believe it when I learned he had cancer, and I remember crying out to God that day for strength for my friend and for trust.

God has been so gracious and faithful, my friend has gone through months of chemo, and now his cancer is mostly gone! Praise be to God!  The greatest part of this trial was watching many of my friends, including my brother, grow in their faith.

Make me empty, so I can be filled. 

‘Cuz I’m still holding onto my will.

And I’m completed, when you  are with me. 

Make me empty.”

Confronted this summer with the prospect of choosing a college major, school, and future job, I was scared.  I know it is only my junior year, but it’s a time to start thinking about life’s big decisions.  I had no idea what I wanted to do as a future career, other than being a wife and mother.  I was worried about the load of homework I would have to face this year, as I’d heard junior year is the toughest in work load.  I also had to start thinking about a part-time job, so that I could start saving for college.  All of these piled up on my mind this summer, making me pray a lot.  Always having been so confident, I was definitely emptied and humbled.  God has been so gracious to me in so many ways concerning these issues, and now I have some direction.

Make me lonely, so I can be yours,

‘Til I want no one more than you, Lord.”

Being a very relationship-focused person, I have always valued my friends above a lot of other things.  There were times throughout this year where certain circumstances made me feel less included than usual, or isolated.  This was not done by my friends purposely, but was more of an emotional projection.  I like to go deep in my closest friendships, and when I felt I had lost some of that depth with a few of my friendships, it made me break down several times.  This is a struggle that I have trouble sharing, and have always had trouble sharing.  I guess it reveals that I’m more insecure than people might think.

One particular day, I was crying as I wrote in my journal about the possibility of losing friendships to time after high-school, when the realization hit me that I would never lose my relationship with God, and that one relationship would only grow deeper, even after times of distance from God.  My relationship with God is a treasure laid up in heaven, as well as all the other Christ-focused friendships on earth.  Even if those friendships are not forever, they will benefit me so much more than any other relationship, no matter how long it lasts.

The second song that could summarize my life this year is “Overwhelmed,” by Big Daddy Weave.  There have been so many ways I have seen God’s power and grace  this year, that I truly have been overwhelmed.  These include my friend’s healing from cancer, getting my first job (!), finding a general career path for my future, bonding within my class at school, getting a (free!) car, and looking at Creation.  I have been blessed beyond measure, and often forget that or take it for granted.

Overall, the biggest lesson I learned over 2014 was to trust God, that those who trust in the Lord will not be put to shame. This theme started at the beginning of this year, but really was made clear to me early this summer, through a short passage in Isaiah 17,

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose trust is the LORD.

He is like a tree planted by water, that sends out its roots by the stream, and does not fear when the heat comes, for its leaves remain green, 

And is not anxious in the year of drought, for it does not cease to bear fruit.”

            –Jeremiah 17:7-8

Here is quite a lengthy summary of my year, but it hits all the most important points.  It’s amazing what can happen over one year and the places I went with my life that I’d never imagined I would.

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Waiting for God’s Will

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This summer, I’ve learned about trusting God with my present and future situations.  This has been very good for my relationship with God and kept me from stressing out too much; however, I oftentimes still wish that their was a magic formula to show me God’s will for my life.  I’m sure that there are many others like me, since I’ve read a couple other blog posts and articles about finding God’s will.

The truth is, I believe that God does know what will happen in each person’s life and that he gives us certain abilities and insights to help us make life choices.  The first most obvious choice is salvation, which is when a person first surrenders his or her life to God.  After that, our job as believers is to spread the gospel and glorify God.  Though this may sound vague, it really isn’t.  Finally, I think the most important thing to do when trying to figure out what God’s will for the future is, is to step back and invest in the present.  This advice was given by an older friend in my school’s yearbook, but I did not follow it until this summer.

I’m still trying to figure out what to do after high school, but I know that I have a desire to get married and have children.  I also want to do the best I can as a high school student, sister, daughter, and friend right now.  Just because someone may be worried about the future doesn’t mean that they can’t focus on the present.  In fact, I believe that it is more important to invest in the present than to plan the future.  As I’ve learned, plans do not always go the way we want them to.  There are so many things that I thought I’d be doing by now and there are so many things that I’m doing now that I never knew I’d be doing.

I actually started blogging because I was tired of things happening without my input, specifically political things.  I have a passion for writing and a talent for it, so I started a blog.  I thought I would be doing a lot of writing about political and social events, but instead, God has turned my focus in a more spiritual direction and has revealed the desire to pour into other’s lives as a mentor and counselor.  This is an example of how investing in the present can impact one’s future.

 

I still do not know for sure what I want to do after high school, but I know that I will most likely go to college and major in communications.  I definitely have more ideas about jobs that I want now than I did at the beginning of the summer.  Thus, trusting God was a good idea, because it allowed me to take a step back from worrying about the future and focus on investing in the present.